What Is 'GCB'? And Other TV Shows Hurt By Their Names
What is "GCB"? You might've seen the ads and billboards for ABC's new dramedy (premieres Sun., Mar. 4, 10 p.m. EST), but we bet if you asked the general public, they'd be hard-pressed to tell you what the show is about.
Originally titled "Good Christian Bitches" -- the same name as the bestselling book the show is based on -- the network changed "Bitches" to "Belles." Then, after getting heat from some Christian groups, the network dropped all the title's words and is now sticking with the short but vague "GCB." A little presumptuous to rely on three little letters to sell your show, don't you think? However, "GCB" is not the first series to suffer from a lack of name recognition.
Here, 10 other TV shows that were killed (or at least very, very wounded) by their horrible names. Of course, we hope that "GCB" doesn't suffer a similar fate, but if it does, they can blame it on the branding.
No, "<a href="http://www.aoltv.com/show/cougar-town/3560220" target="_hplink">Cougar Town</a>" has not been canceled, but its confusing title is doing nothing to help its poor ratings. And no, "Cougar Town" is not about Courteney Cox being a cougar, chasing after younger men. Instead, it's about a small tourist town nicknamed ... Cougar Town. After three seasons, showrunner Bill Lawrence isn't about to change the misleading name now. In fact, he says that he wears "the <a href="http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/02/12/cougar-town-cast-creators-paley-center-nyc/" target="_hplink">worst-titled show in history</a> as a badge of honor."
"$#*! My Dad Says"
The ultra-annoying thing about this title is that there were better options that the show creators ignored. Sure, "Shit My Dad Says" might have been too much for conservative CBS, but what about "Sh*t My Dad Says"? That would have been a better name for the show, which was based on a popular Twitter feed. But the best name was staring the creators in the face: "Shat My Dad Says" would have been a coy acknowledgement of the show's origins and a shout-out to the show's larger-than-life star.
"It's Like, You Know"
Imagine this conversation: Bro 1: Hey, man. Did you watch "It's Like, You Know" last night? Bro 2: I know what ...? Bro 1: "It's Like, You Know." Bro 2: No, I don't know. What are you talking about? Just say the name of the show, dude. It's easy to see why this show name, while being totally nondescript, was inane and did nothing to service the series about a neurotic New Yorker who visits a friend in LA who just so happens to be neighbors with Jennifer Grey.
Shasta McNasty were like a fictional LFO -- three dudes with sick rhymes and facial hair. The only difference? LFO didn't make people think their band name was a porno. The 1999 UPN show about the fictional rap/rock band was simply called "Shasta McNasty." No matter how cute you thought Scotty was, no teenage girl in their right mind would dare tell their friends that they were going home to watch "Shasta McNasty." Halfway through the first season, UPN shortened the show's title to "Shasta," but that did little to save the ratings, and the series was canceled.
"Better Off Ted"
Confession: We still miss "Better Off Ted." The canceled-too-soon ABC sitcom was always being shuffled around the schedule, but the real reason people didn't tune in was probably the generic name. Maybe if the show had been on cable, they could've spiced the title up a bit ... and then let the hysterical cast riff as filthy as they wanted to, like they did in this NSFW stream of outtakes.
"My Mother The Car"
"My Mother The Car" was doomed by an awkward title, but also a strange, unappealing concept. Who might have guessed that a show about a man's deceased mother who gets reincarnated as his used car wouldn't resonate with TV viewers in 1965? The show was canceled after only one season.
"Two Guys, A Girl & A Pizza Place"
"Two Guys, a Girl & A Pizza Place" was a show about four friends: two guys, a girl, and a pizza place ... right? Sort of. The pizza place was the local hangout essential to '90s comedies, but as the show struggled to refocus on its central characters (and their ever-changing careers), the pizza place was dropped from the title and the show itself.
This FX drama was an amazingly poignant and entertaining depiction of the friendship and private-detective activities of Hank Dolworth (Donal Logue) and Britt Pollack (Michael Raymond-James). Know how much of that awesomeness was conveyed by the show's title, "Terriers"? Pretty much none of it. Sigh. At least we can keep re-watching this not-awesomely-named one-season wonder again and again on Netflix, and relive the great theme song via our iPods.
"Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)"
ABC execs probably thought that naming a wacky comedy about the fictional TV network IBS "Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)" and airing it in that very timeslot would be a genius act of self-aware marketing. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way, and the show lasted for only two episodes before it was pulled off the schedule. It came back a few months later with a new name -- "<a href="http://www.aoltv.com/show/my-adventures-in-television/184776" target="_hplink">My Adventures in Television</a>" -- but only lasted for three more episodes before its adventures were over and it was canceled.
NBC naming one of their 2000-2001 sitcoms "Cursed" was basically a self-fulfilling prophecy. The show starred Steven Weber as Jack Nagle, a man who'd been cursed by an ex-girlfriend, resulting in him constantly encountering bad luck. But when the show struggled to find its footing midway through its debut season, "Cursed" underwent some serious changes. The "bad luck" angle was dropped and it took the form of a more traditional sitcom, including the straight title, "The Weber Show." Nevertheless, by the end of Season 1, the series was canceled ... or rather, "cursed."
"These Friends Of Mine"
When "These Friends Of Me" premiered on ABC in March 1994, it was intended to be an ensemble sitcom. Ellen DeGeneres starred as Ellen Morgan, a neurotic, thirty-something bookstore owner with a quirky cast of co-workers and friends. But between its first and second season, the show dropped its nondescript title (that was awfully similar to another new sitcom on NBC starring a six-some chilling at Central Perk) and went with "Ellen." Though the name may not have been what killed this show -- that would be the legendary "Puppy Episode," in which Ellen came out of the closet -- but the title certainly didn't help.
Related on HuffPost: